Comprehensive Guide To Using Insulin

Using Insulin

Diabetes Mellitus is an endocrine disorder that affects how the pancreas produces insulin and other pancreatic hormones. But, what is insulin? Insulin is an endocrine hormone produced by the pancreatic cells called Islets of Langerhans. Insulin in the body is used to control blood sugar levels. Therefore, the pathophysiology of the disease is characterized by increased blood sugar levels in the body.

Types of Exogenous Insulin

For persons diagnosed with DM (mainly type 1 DM), the standard management technique is the administration of exogenous insulin. There are three types of exogenous insulin based on their sources. These are porcine insulin, bovine insulin, and human recombinant insulin.

Porcine Insulin

Porcine insulin was one of the earliest types of exogenous insulin and is still in use today. The pancreas is removed from a pig (the animal).

Bovine Insulin

Bovine insulin was developed in the early 1980s to replace porcine insulin. The exogenous insulin is extracted from the bovine pancreas (cow pancreas).

Human Recombinant Insulin

Human recombinant insulin is produced by genetic engineering. The exogenous insulin is made using DNA technology to produce human insulin in the laboratory.

How to use Insulin Pens?

Insulin pens are used for injecting liquid medicines, such as insulin and other injectable medications, into the body via a hypodermic needle (a long thin needle). A hypodermic needle is painless when injected into a smaller body area like an arm or thigh instead of a larger body area like the buttocks or abdomen. When using an injection pen or syringe, it is important to know how to properly hold the pen or syringe and place the needle into the body area being injected. Tandem Diabetes recommends that you pay attention to the symptoms and monitor your glucose levels actively.

A Step by Step Guide on How to Use an Insulin Pen

Remove the pen cap. Place a new needle on the pen. Use alcohol swabs to cleanse and disinfect your hands before handling or changing a needle. Then, remove one of the needles from its wrapper and screw it onto the end of your insulin pen by turning clockwise until you hear it click into place. Never use a pen with an expired, damaged, or clogged needle (use only sterile needles). Your pen should be used within 28 days after opening.

Check that there is enough insulin in your cartridge and if there is any air in your cartridge. Hold the pen straight up and down as if you were going to give yourself an injection with a syringe. Be sure to hold it with the needle pointing upwards so that if any insulin leaks out of the needle, it will drip back into the cartridge and not onto you or your clothes.

Note that your pen should never be held like a pencil. This could cause air bubbles to enter your insulin and damage your pen. You can inject insulin into your stomach area but rotate sites. Do not inject into areas that are bruised, red or tender. You can also inject insulin into the thigh or buttocks.

With your thumb, press the pen’s plunger until you see a drop of insulin at the needle tip. With your other hand, pinch up some skin at the injection site and hold it firmly for about 10 seconds to make sure you have a good blood supply at that spot. It is best to use an area with little fat under the skin to get good insulin absorption.

Insert the needle straight through the pinched-up skin and into your tissue without pushing down on it (this will activate the safety mechanism on some pens). Once in place, push down on the plunger slightly until you see a drop of blood appear at the needle tip. As the insulin is injected, you will feel a slight prick.

Remove the needle and press a cotton ball or piece of gauze over the injection site (or use an alcohol swab if you have one). Do not rub the injection site as it could cause bruising or damage tissue. Dispose of your syringe and pen in an appropriate container right away, preferably within 15 minutes. Do not throw it away in regular trash without first removing your needle.

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